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April 22, 2017

Matt: Songs for My Father

One of the things that surprised me most about when my Dad was sick last year was that while he was in the hospital over about 5 weeks he lost any interest in music, TV, movies, anything on a screen. Music was particularly surprising given that he had music on at his desk pretty much all the time, and really enjoyed loading a new CD or record into the media library he had set up at home. One of the songs I remember playing for him was from a band, Manhattan Transfer, that we used to listen to a lot when I was younger and just learning about jazz, I chose Tuxedo Junction because it might cheer him up.

I remember him smiling faintly. (I wish I had played him more music. I wish I had recorded more of his stories, ideally before he got sick. I wish I had figured out how to navigate the hospital and health care system better.)

What I didn’t anticipate was how after his death there would be aftershocks of grief that would hit me over and over again, especially while driving or in a plane. I went from crying maybe three times in the past decade to breaking down at the end of a company town hall, when talking to family, when my Mom found out about the anniversary present my Dad had been looking at, and with any number of songs that unexpectedly took on a new meaning.

Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth’s See You Again, is obvious, and was in heavy rotation every public place I went; Lukas Graham’s 7 Years completely broke me down when it talked about children — if I ever have any my father will never meet them; Kayne & Paul McCartney’s Only One, the tribute to Kanye’s daughter and passed mother and I think perhaps his best song; Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, about growing old together, turning 70 as he was so close to doing; Kanye’s Ultralight Beam snuck up on me, I didn’t expect it, but the questioning and gospel and anger and hope in it captured something I didn’t even realize I was feeling. Even jazz wasn’t safe, Horace Silver’s lyric-less Song for My Father had the same effect.

John Mayer’s Stop This Train is a song I’ve probably heard a hundred times since it came out in 2006, but all of sudden these words meant something completely different:

So scared of getting older
I’m only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun

Had a talk with my old man
Said, “Help me understand”
He said, “Turn sixty-eight
You’ll renegotiate”

I almost had to pull the car over: he was sixty-eight. What I would give for just one more conversation with him like the one the day before he passed. I wish I had written more down, recorded more of his stories, learned more about his journey.

As the year has passed, the surprise crying is much less common even when one of these songs comes on the radio. Usually when I think of my father it’s with a smile. I’ve even had a few treasured dreams where we’ve been able to talk, nothing that made much sense (it was a dream) but I remember waking up with an overwhelming feeling of enveloping love. While the “new normal” is different, I can’t say it’s better — he’s still gone.

by Matt at April 22, 2017 05:12 AM under Essays

WPTavern: Embed Mastodon Statuses in WordPress

After the controversial changes to Twitter’s @reply feature, which no longer counts usernames towards the 140-character limit, Mastodon registrations rose sharply. Mastodon is a free, open source, decentralized network that has many similarities to Twitter. The software, named in honor of its creator’s favorite metal band, was launched in October and registered 24,000 users in the first six months. A strong negative reaction to Twitter’s changes has fueled a spike in Mastodon registrations. In the last week alone, the software’s user base has grown from 237,000 users on April 15 to more than 414,000 users today.

Mastodon is different from Twitter in that it is broken up into different independently-hosted instances. Whereas Twitter has struggled to combat trolls and abuse on its platform, Mastodon instances can each declare and enforce their own rules. For example, the flagship Mastodon.social instance bans content that is illegal in Germany or France, such as Nazi symbolism and Holocaust denial, excessive advertising, racism, sexism, and other undesirable posts.

Mastodon’s Tweetdeck-style interface allows users to post “toots” with a 500-word character limit. Toots can also be published with a content warning so that users can choose whether to view it.

With all the increased activity around Mastodon this week, there was bound to be someone with the desire to display toots on their website. The first plugin for bringing Mastodon content into WordPress has landed in the plugin directory. Embed Mastodon was created by David Libeau, a French developer and Mastodon enthusiast. It allows users to embed toots using a shortcode.

“I created this plugin because Numerama, a french tech website, was saying that it could be cool to embed Mastodon statuses, like with Twitter, in WordPress,” Libeau said. “I was thinking the same when I wrote a small article on my personal blog. I am using both Twitter and Mastodon but want to progressively leave Twitter.”

Libeau said he is not a WordPress developer and Mastodon Embed is his first plugin. He does not know if it’s coded well but said users may be interested in an alternative plugin on GitHub that is a complete rewrite of his effort. The rewrite includes multiple embeds, caching, proper shortcode initialization, and fallback to “direct” embeds if embed via iframe is forbidden.

Libeau said he doesn’t know what will happen to his plugin in light of the rewrite, but he is continuing to develop small tools for Mastodon users. Mastodon has an open API for apps and services, which makes it easy for developers to build things that integrate with it.

After testing the Mastodon Embed plugin I found that it works but may have a couple of styling issues with the link display. If you find that it’s not working, it’s possible that your particular Mastodon instance configuration does not allow embedding via iFrame. To resolve this you may need to contact the admin of the instance or use the fork of the plugin that has a fallback for this scenario. If you find a bug with the Mastodon Embed plugin hosted on WordPress.org, you can log an issue on Libeau’s Mastodon Tools repository.

by Sarah Gooding at April 22, 2017 03:18 AM under mastodon

WPTavern: Headway Themes Appears to be Dying a Slow Death

It’s been seven months since Grant and Clay Griffiths, founders of Headway Themes, apologized to customers for failing to communicate on a regular basis and provide adequate customer support. In the apology, the founders admit that the company was experiencing financial difficulties and noted that competition in the WordPress drag-and-drop page-builder space was tough. The duo vowed to communicate more, provide better customer support, and continue to develop Headway 4.0. Has anything changed since the apology was published?

Headway Themes Migrates to FlyWheel Hosting

In December of 2016, Flywheel hosting acquired Pressmatic, created by Clay Griffiths. Soon after, Headway Themes migrated to Flywheel hosting which caused a few hiccups such as site downtime due to DNS propagation, login issues, and an issue with the Headway Dashboard. The acquisition raised questions on how it would affect Clay’s ability to work on Headway.

“This acquisition and employment will provide myself and my family much more stability than we’ve had in a long time, and will allow me to better focus on Headway in my spare time,” Griffiths said. “This includes rolling out the upcoming 4.1 release, and working hard to make sure the support and other outstanding issues are resolved for all our customers.”

Influx Confirms Communication Issues With Founders

Soon after the apology, Headway Themes began to use Influx to provide first-tier customer support. Influx provides customer support for companies, including those in the WordPress ecosystem such as Advanced Custom Fields. Any issues that Influx couldn’t solve are escalated to Clay and Grant. In February, Gary Bairéad, a former Headway Themes employee, contacted Headway Themes support about the status of Headway 4.0 and received the following response.

Influx couldn’t answer the question because Headway developers had not informed them of its progress despite inquiring about it. Influx notes that there may be a beta released in the near future but not to be quoted on it because a similar promise was made five months prior. In January, the official Headway Themes Twitter account confirmed that Headway was being supported and that 4.0 would be released soon.

Around the same time period, another Headway Themes customer submitted a support request asking about the status of a longstanding issue they were having. Influx explained that there was a lull because the main developers were failing to communicate. The support representative also pointed out that it seemed the only way for customers to get information about Headway Themes was by emailing support.

Influx says it tried multiple times to contact Headway Themes developers about the issue and said it was lobbying hard to get it rectified.

Payments Stop for Third-Party Block Developers

In February, Bairéad published a request to third-party block customers to not renew through Headway Themes.com and to instead, purchase and renew directly from the developer’s sites. Chris Howard, founder of Pizazz WP, and Chris Rault, co-founder of HeadwayRocket, confirmed they are owed money from customers who purchased and renewed blocks through Headway Themes.com.

I reached out to both developers to see if they’ve been paid since February.

“I’ve sent Clay a bunch of messages, but he’s completely ignoring me and hasn’t paid over another cent since the last long delay,” Rault said.

“It’s down to only 2 or 3 renewals a month, but I’m not receiving anything still. I’d estimate they still owe me around $2,000,” Howard said.

For Howard, the issue of not receiving payments has been going on for months.

Former Support Staff Still Owed Money

Headway Themes’ apology does not mention the former support team who the company failed to pay on time for months. Since the apology, members of the team have received small payments but are still owed thousands of dollars. Receiving payments from Headway Themes is often a difficult process.

After not receiving a payment in February, a former team member sent a flurry of emails to Grant and Clay Griffiths inquiring about the payment. Clay eventually responded that they would send out payments when they’re able too. After a week of questioning when that would be with no response, the team member received a payment.

Influx Says Headway Themes is Restructuring

A Headway Themes customer recently contacted support to ask about the status of Headway and published Influx’s response to the company’s support forums. Here’s their response:

Hi [Redacted],

Thanks for reaching out.

Currently, Headway is going through a restructuring phase to resolve the challenges being faced at this time. We do not have the full details here at support but the main stakeholders are working to return Headway to its rightful mode of operations.

Please let me know if there are any more questions that I can answer for you. Kind Regards.

To learn more about the restructuring process and what’s going on with Headway development, I reached out to Grant and Clay Griffiths. Both have not responded to my request for comment.

Blox Picks Up Where Headway Left Off

Last year, when it appeared the future of Headway Themes was in jeopardy, Maarten Schraven forked the Headway 3.8.8 codebase and named it Blox Builder. Blox Builder is 100% GPL Licensed and is a direct replacement for Headway. Schraven recently answered a number of questions related to the project, one of which is how easy is it to transfer from Headway to Blox.

There are different ways to convert your Headway Theme to Blox Theme. The best way is to export your template, you get an .json file. In this file you have to change hw to bt and headway to blox. If you have a large website you also can change the database tables. Some of our users have Blox Theme and Headway Themes side by side and switch between them. The last way (not yet available) is our conversion script. This script can do two things, change the database or do the same search and replace. This script will work automatic or as standalone.

Or, if you think this is to difficult, you always can ask us for the conversion, we can discuss this on e-mail or skype

There’s no time frame on when the conversion script will be available. If you’re a fan of the way Headway Themes works and are looking for a similar replacement, check out Blox Builder.

Many in the Headway Themes Community Have Moved On

A number of devoted fans and customers of Headway have switched to other page builders like Divi, Elementor, and Beaver Builder. What was once a vibrant community-run Slack channel for Headway Themes enthusiasts has turned into a ghost town. There is little hope among them that the company will be able to rebound.

Not Much Has Changed

Unfortunately, the issues that prompted Headway Themes’ founders to issue an apology are still present. There is a lack of communication on the company’s blog, social media accounts, and to Influx, the company it has outsourced customer support to. The apology dated Sept 13, 2016, was the last post published to the company’s blog. Former employees and third-party developers are still owed considerable amounts of money and there has been little if any development on the Headway code base.

by Jeff Chandler at April 22, 2017 02:00 AM under influx

April 21, 2017

WPTavern: HeroPress Partners With WPShout to Offer WordPress Education Scholarships

HeroPress has teamed up with Alex Denning, Fred Meyer, and David Hayes of WPShout to offer 10 copies of Up and Running Second Edition at the deluxe tier. The deluxe tier is valued at $249 and includes everything the course has to offer including video tutorials, creating a theme and child theme, screencast series, creating a WordPress plugin, and more.

The scholarship applications are geared towards three groups of people:

  • Those in financial hardship (unemployment, jobseeking, students or underemployment).
  • Those in low-income countries without the means to purchase the course.
  • Under-represented groups in tech and the WordPress community, including but not limited to:
    • Women
    • Transgender applicants
    • BAME applicants

Those who qualify have until May 9th to fill out the application. Five members of the WordPress community make up a panel that will review the applications and choose 10 recipients who they feel are deserving of the award. HeroPress will then tally the selections and those with the most votes will be awarded a scholarship. In case of a tie, HeroPress will be the deciding vote. The five panelists are:

Pippin Williamson, founder of Easy Digital Downloads, says he accepted the panelist role because it’s an opportunity to make a significant difference in someone’s life.

HeroPress, founded by Topher DeRosia in 2015, publishes an essay every Wednesday from members of the community on how WordPress has positively impacted their lives. HeroPress has published essays from people in the Middle East, Oceania, Central and South America, and other parts of the world.

To learn the HeroPress story, listen to our interview with DeRosia. In it, he explains his motivation for creating the site and shares a personal story of someone who couldn’t write an essay because they were spending all of their time trying to stay alive.

To learn more about Up and Running Second Edition, listen to our interview with the founders where they explain how and why they created the course.

by Jeff Chandler at April 21, 2017 07:05 PM under wpshout

WPTavern: Checathlon: A Free WordPress Business Theme with Support for Easy Digital Downloads

Checathlon is new business theme on WordPress.org that was designed to seamlessly integrate with Easy Digital Downloads. The name is a combination of the words checkout and decathlon, according to its creator Sami Keijonen.

Checathlon combines elegant typography with a bold, pink accent color to showcase products and services on a business or e-commerce website. The theme was designed by Finnish designer Toni Suni and is Keijonen’s 13th theme to be listed in the directory.

“I had some kind of vision of what I wanted and Toni created a pixel perfect design based on our discussion,” Keijonen said. “I’m super happy about the end result. Unfortunately, the design and the theme was not good enough for WordPress.com and the theme was rejected from there.” Keijonen opted to create a Checathlon Plus plugin as an alternative way to monetize the theme.

Checathlon has an intuitive way of organizing the content featured on the front page. Unlike many other themes, the front page is not controlled by a custom page template. Once you set the front page as a static page, the Customizer will give access to the service/pricing, products, testimonial, and blog sections.

The theme includes support for a Pricing page template and a Team Page template. These features make Checathlon more flexible for use on a business, agency, non-profit, or e-commerce website.

The pricing template has a “Service and Pricing widget” area where users can drop in the custom widgets available in the Checathlon Plus plugin. The widgets make it easy for users to set an icon, title, content, price, and a link for each pricing tier, as well as the ability to highlight one tier as featured.

Checathlon was built to support several plugins, including Easy Digital Downloads, Custom Content Portfolio, and Jetpack (testimonials and portfolio). The theme includes styles for the Jetpack email subscription widget and EDD downloads and account pages. It’s also tagged as accessibility-ready, which means that it has successfully passed an accessibility audit. Check out the live demo to see Checathlon in action.

Keijonen is taking a unique approach by creating a Checathlon Plus plugin as an alternative to offering a “pro version” of the theme. It extends the theme to include more customizer capabilities, additional widgets, cart customization features for EDD, and two child themes. The free theme is available on WordPress.org and documentation can be found on the theme’s website.

by Sarah Gooding at April 21, 2017 04:25 PM under free wordpress themes

April 20, 2017

WPTavern: WordPress Plugin Directory Restores Tabbed Interface

photo credit: Jeffrey Betts

Last month the WordPress Plugin Directory relaunched with a new design and improvements to the search algorithm. The new design replaced the plugin pages’ previous tabbed interface with a wall of text, truncated by numerous “read more” links.

The outpouring of negative community feedback on the new design overshadowed many of the helpful improvements. Removal of the tabs was by far the most unpopular design choice in this iteration, as many found it to be confusing and inferior in terms of navigating the information efficiently. Users, developers, and contributors on the redesign felt their feedback was roundly ignored throughout all phases of the design’s beta and testing period.

Four months ago, contributor Jon Ang (@kenshino) opened a ticket regarding the “read more” links, which he described as “a usability nightmare.” The ticket was closed as a duplicate of another ticket which received very little discussion. Today, Otto marked the ticket as fixed, announcing the return of tabs in the commit message:

Change single-plugin view to have tabbed design. Eliminates read-more on all sections except developers and changelog, adds tabs back to interface using CSS to switch between them. Tabs control both main display as well as widgets.

Known issues: Changelog read-more not working (js issue), developers section is currently split using CSS, future change will split this section into two separate sections.

Members of the Advanced WordPress Facebook (AWP) community, who were among the most critical of the new design, are pleased with the change. The new tabs are subtle, tasteful, and in line with the overall design. They eliminate the clutter that the expanded “read more” links created.

The Reviews tab now displays six of the most recent reviews, as opposed the the previous two most recent. This makes it not as easy to destroy a plugin’s reputation with poor reviews timed to always be visible on the main plugin page. Otto replied to comments on the AWP community, saying that these numbers are not set in stone and that there are good arguments for displaying different sets of reviews, as opposed to simply the most recent ones.

Two weeks ago the meta team brought back stats and older versions of plugins, a couple of features that were removed in the first iteration of the new directory. Screenshot display is still somewhat clunky, requiring users to click on their browsers’ back button in order to return to the plugin details. Future iterations of the design are expected to address the remaining quirks and issues that users and contributors have raised since the relaunch.

by Sarah Gooding at April 20, 2017 09:46 PM under wordpress plugin directory

WPTavern: WordPress 4.7.4 Fixes 47 Issues

WordPress 4.7.4 is available and is a maintenance release that fixes 47 issues reported against 4.7. This update includes a visual editor compatibility fix for an upcoming version of Chrome.

Uploading video and audio files no longer result in broken thumbnails and the REST API received a few enhancements related to data handling. WordPress 4.7.4 also restores the ability to Shift-click a range of checkboxes.

Auto updates are rolling out but if you’d like to update immediately, browse to Dashboard > Updates and click the update button.

To see a full list of changes visit the release notes page on the Codex. Since December, WordPress 4.7 has been downloaded more than 60 million times.

by Jeff Chandler at April 20, 2017 06:39 PM under rest api

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.7.4 Maintenance Release

After almost sixty million downloads of WordPress 4.7, we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 4.7.4, a maintenance release.

This release contains 47 maintenance fixes and enhancements, chief among them an incompatibility between the upcoming Chrome version and the visual editor, inconsistencies in media handling, and further improvements to the REST API. For a full list of changes, consult the release notes and the list of changes.

Download WordPress 4.7.4 or visit Dashboard → Updates and simply click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update to WordPress 4.7.4.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to 4.7.4:
Aaron Jorbin, Adam Silverstein, Andrea Fercia, Andrew Ozz, aussieguy123, Blobfolio, boldwater, Boone Gorges, Boro Sitnikovski, chesio, Curdin Krummenacher, Daniel Bachhuber, Darren Ethier (nerrad), David A. Kennedy, davidbenton, David Herrera, Dion Hulse, Dominik Schilling (ocean90), eclev91, Ella Van Dorpe, Gustave F. Gerhardt, ig_communitysites, James Nylen, Joe Dolson, John Blackbourn, karinedo, lukasbesch, maguiar, MatheusGimenez, Matthew Boynes, Matt Wiebe, Mayur Keshwani, Mel Choyce, Nick Halsey, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, Piotr Delawski, Pratik Shrestha, programmin, Rachel Baker, sagarkbhatt, Sagar Prajapati, sboisvert, Scott Taylor, Sergey Biryukov, Stephen Edgar, Sybre Waaijer, Timmy Crawford, vortfu, and Weston Ruter.

by Pascal Birchler at April 20, 2017 05:54 PM under 4.7

Post Status: Introducing a new way to find high quality WordPress jobs

It’s my pleasure to formally introduce the Post Status WordPress job board. It actually went live two weeks ago, but I wanted to give it time to work out any kinks before broadly promoting it.

Now, I think we’re ready for prime time. So, why do we need another place to list WordPress jobs?

The signal to noise ratio — both for employers seeking qualified candidates, and for candidates finding quality job listings — is pretty low across the board in the job market. Most people who hire technical professionals will tell you that it’s very difficult to find good candidates. And anyone seeking great job opportunities knows how hard it can be to find out the best opportunities, especially at the times you’re actually looking.

The goal for the Post Status WordPress job board is to take advantage of both sides of this equation.

Post Status isn’t a huge website with tons of traffic. But the traffic I do get is from a highly targeted audience of primarily WordPress professionals, or web professionals who use WordPress as a primary tool.

By creating a highly targeted job board, I’m able to increase the signal on both sides; employers can get quality applications, and applicants can find quality employers.

Furthermore, our team — meaning Katie Richards, and myself — go through each employer’s listing to confirm that it’s a qualified listing of someone actually hiring, provides relevant information, and is properly described for the available position.

We’ve already got 20+ jobs and counting, and I know many of them have had applications start to roll in, even without public announcement yet.

If you’d like to submit a job, the process is currently only for Post Status members. We may open that up in the coming weeks, but for now, you can join and post, or if someone from your organization is a member, they can post it.

Listings last for 45 days (the first listings are being extended out starting today), and will be marketed to the Post Status Club — now over 900 WordPress professionals — as well as the free Post Status newsletter, where we’ll send digests of new jobs.

In the future, we may create new features for job seekers to keep an even closer eye on available jobs, but for now, the email and listing page are the place to go. And we may build new tools for employers as we get feedback and see demand for them.

I look forward to this being a valuable resource for the WordPress community. We’re dedicated to making it work well for a long haul, and we expect general activity to increase as the word gets out that it’s there.

So, if you don’t mind, we’d love your help to promote this job board, both now and when you hear of companies hiring and people seeking positions. It is a truly great feeling to know that you helped someone find their next workplace.

So, check out some WordPress jobs!

by Brian Krogsgard at April 20, 2017 01:35 PM under Planet

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2017 Announces Speakers, Opens Registration for Contributor Day

WordCamp Europe 2017 has been rolling out speaker announcements over the past week, slowly building what appears to be a strong lineup of both European and international WordPress experts. Speaker names are being released in thematic groups, the first dedicated to development topics, followed by business and content/marketing groups.

Registration for Contributor Day, which will be held the day before the conference on Thursday, June 15th, is now open. Organizers are expecting more than 3,000 attendees for the WordCamp, but Contributor Day is limited to 500 registrants. The signup form allows attendees to select up to two different contributor teams they would like to participate in.

In addition to the traditional contribution activities, Thursday’s event will also feature workshops and talks for beginners and those who want to learn more about topics such as JavaScript, Vagrant, internationalization, security, accessibility, and plugins. The workshops will be announced at a later date.

WP Tavern will be on the ground in Paris to cover WordCamp Europe as an official media partner. We’re looking forward to connecting with the European WordPress community and finding the stories that might otherwise go untold. The last remaining tickets are selling quickly. There are 288 micro-sponsor tickets left and just 308 general admission tickets remaining before the event is sold out.

by Sarah Gooding at April 20, 2017 03:29 AM under WordCamp Europe

HeroPress: Announcing the Up and Running Scholarship, from HeroPress and WPShout

Two hands holding an ipad so we can see the screen.

For the first time ever, HeroPress is taking part in offering a scholarship! The good folks over at WPShout are soon releasing some great new WordPress training material called Up and Running. As part of that release they’d like to offer ten copies for free to those who fit the application qualifications.

How do I apply?

Visit the Up and Running Scholarship Application page, read the rules, and fill out the form.

The post Announcing the Up and Running Scholarship, from HeroPress and WPShout appeared first on HeroPress.

April 20, 2017 12:07 AM under Scholarship

April 19, 2017

WPTavern: BuddyPress 2016 Survey Results Show 54% of Respondents are on PHP 7.0+

The results of the BuddyPress 2016 survey have been published. This year the survey received feedback from 302 respondents in 61 different countries, a 43% increase in responses from 2015. The top five countries represented in the survey include the United States (27.15%), India (7.62%), United Kingdom (6.95%), Germany (6.29%), and Canada (3.64%). English remains the most popular language for BuddyPress sites at nearly 70% and this year Spanish (10.7%) replaced French for the #2 spot, followed by German (9.96%).

A new question in the 2016 survey asked users what PHP versions their sites are on. More than 53% of respondents report having sites on PHP 7.0+ and 63% are using a version higher than 5.6+.

Lead developer Paul Gibbs sees these results as an affirmation that the BuddyPress core leadership made the right decision when dropping support for PHP 5.2 nine months ago.

Gibbs is currently on a sabbatical from BuddyPress and was not available for comment. Project lead John James Jacoby said that the decision to drop support for PHP 5.2 may not be a direct corollary to its usage falling below 1%, but the core team will continue to bump the minimum version in the future with consideration for user happiness.

“It’s hard to know whether increasing our minimum PHP version made any direct difference,” Jacoby said. “My hunch is most users do not care very much, and the ones that do, care greatly. It’s all about keeping users happy – sometimes that means maintaining compatibility with old dependencies; other times it means kindly motivating users to upgrade things maybe they haven’t thought about in a while.”

The 2016 results show that 45% of respondents have been using BuddyPress for a year or less. While this isn’t necessarily an indication of users’ ability, it is interesting in light of the project’s recent shift to focus on developers and site builders. The survey results indicate that more users identify themselves as a beginner when it comes to knowledge of BuddyPress themes and hooks.

BuddyPress core developers made the decision to focus on site builders and developers based on how they saw the project’s user base changing over time. Making the software 100% turnkey is no longer one of their chief objectives. With the high percentage of users who identify as beginners, the project will need to find a way to get them connected and advancing in their BuddyPress knowledge.

“The BuddyPress.org community forums continue to be the best place to get connected with other users to talk about what they’re working on,” Jacoby said. “Our documentation coverage in the codex is constantly being maintained, and we’re still working behind the scenes on a developer site ala developer.wordpress.org. Nothing will ever beat reading the code from inside a quality code-editor, but having public visibility into the codebase is good for everyone, too.”

April 30, 2017, marks the 8th anniversary of the first stable release of BuddyPress. Version 3.0 will be released this year and contributors are working towards adding a new template pack and improving the BP REST API, in addition to other new features based on comments from the survey.

“The primary focus of BuddyPress for 3.0 and beyond (in addition to being a great foundation for developers) should be to improve member management and communications inside your WordPress,” Jacoby said. “The latest and greatest versions of PHP don’t necessarily help us with those things directly, but the performance improvements of running BuddyPress on PHP 7.0 or 7.1 are impressive, enough to continue aggressively bumping our minimum required and recommended versions to keep users happy and safe.”

A summary of the 2016 survey results was published to the BuddyPress.org blog and the full results are available on GitHub, along with comments from respondents.

by Sarah Gooding at April 19, 2017 07:43 PM under php

WPTavern: New WordPress Plugin Shows Users Where a Plugin’s Settings Link Is Upon Activation

A common frustration I’ve experienced in WordPress after installing a plugin is figuring out where the settings link is located. It can be a top-level menu item or tucked away in a sub-menu. Sometimes, the plugin doesn’t warrant a settings link.

A new plugin called Show Plugin Menu Items on Activation created by Kellen Mace and Gary Kovar seeks to calm the chaos. When a plugin is activated, an Admin Notice is displayed that informs the user where to configure it.

Where to Find Akismet’s Settings

The notice can be dismissed by either clicking the dismiss button or hovering over the menu location. The notice does not display for plugins that include a welcome page or wizard such as BuddyPress and WooCommerce.

The number of admin pointers that are displayed depends on the number of menu items that are added. For example, if a plugin adds three menu items, three admin pointers are displayed.

When four or more menu items are added, a notice is shown at the top of the screen that says, ‘Many new plugin menu items were added.’ If no menu items are added, a notice displays at the top of the screen that says, ‘No new plugin menu items were added.’

I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.7.3 and didn’t encounter any issues. Although plugins ought to make finding the settings link easier upon activation, this particular plugin has me wondering if displaying these types of admin notices should be a core feature. In my experience, plugin authors rarely take advantage of admin pointers to explain where to go or what to do next after being activated.

Related to the above, I encourage plugin developers to read this article by Hugh Lashbrooke, that explains how to add a settings link to the plugins listing page. Adding a settings link to the plugins listing page puts it in a predictable location and is something I as a user appreciate.

by Jeff Chandler at April 19, 2017 07:07 PM under settings

HeroPress: The Only Journey Is The One Within

Pull Quote: WordPress gives you the opportunity to be whoever you want to be and to give yourself a voice.

I was born in Luxembourg (Europe), almost exactly 36 years ago. To be honest, I was not one of the children or teenagers who knew what they wanted to become when they grow up. And to stay honest, I still don’t know exactly to this day.

After school I got advised to start working for the government; jobs are well paid and stressless. But considering my tasks, I did not have the feeling that there was any particular skill or performance needed to get them done, nor was there any desirable achievement in the years to come.

In the following 12 years, I switched administrations and ministries, trying to find more fulfillment and happiness in what I was doing during the day. But sooner or later the daily routine made me feel very miserable and frustrated. I started to realize that though I still did not know what I wanted to become, I knew exactly what I did not want to do anymore: sitting in an office from nine to five, doing the same administrative work, day after day, without any motivation, without any personal goal. There must be more in life for me!?

My husband, Alain Schlesser, at that point also a government agent, was fed up as well and decided to quit his job and start freelancing as a web developer focussing on WordPress – so at least one of us had a specific goal.

Getting Out

In summer of 2014 I opted for a four year sabbatical, we sold everything we owned in Luxembourg and moved to the German “Eifel” quite into the middle of nowhere together with our three french bulldogs Jasper, Duke, and Indra. I did not have the slightest idea of where my personal journey would lead me in the end, but I had the feeling that it was time to take better care of myself.

First, I started studies as a dog health & behavior trainer, which I completed successfully. After the studies, I got sick and depressed. I gained more and more weight, was constantly dealing with all sorts of aches and had severe doubts about what the future might bring to me. And the more I doubted, the less productive I got.

In summer of 2015 I got the diagnosis that I was suffering from lipedema – a chronically progressive disease which is basically a very painful fat disorder, that almost exclusively affects women. I decided to completely change my life and focus on my mental and physical health.

Meanwhile, my husband was working hard to achieve his personal goals. At that point I did not have a very clear idea of what he was actually doing during the day, nor was I interested in any details.

I had nothing to do with the web or computers in general, except for Google, Facebook and writing emails.

Coding, programming, developing, those were foreign words to me. A few years back, I had started two blogs on wordpress.com where I shared my dogs’ stories and my experiences during my studies – that was the only knowledge I had about Alain’s new world – and about WordPress. Today I agree that these were hard times for us: we spent 24 hours together in the same house but we did not have much to share anymore: I had locked myself out of the life my husband was leading during the day due to a lack of interest and knowledge on one side, and fears on the other.

Finding WordPress

I entered the world of WordPress because Alain invited me to join him in a trip to WordCamp Europe 2016 in Vienna. Despite looking forward to exploring a new city and do some shopping, I had no expectations of what I was going to experience in Vienna. To be honest,  I was scared of meeting the “nerdy” part of my husband’s life and of not being able to get involved in it – again. However, what happened in Vienna was totally unexpected and overwhelming for me: I met hundreds of open-minded, interesting, welcoming, friendly and helpful people who were interested in what I had to share with them, although I was not involved at all in WordPress or the community so far.

I probably had the most inspiring discussions I’ve ever had in my life and one of the funniest and joyful weeks too. There were more than two thousand people, and nobody (!) made me feel uncomfortable, ignorant or out of place.

I have never experienced such an unconditionally welcoming atmosphere before – and I noticed that I truly wanted to be a part of that amazing community in the future.

To be honest, I actually had withdrawal symptoms once we were back home. I got very active in following up and my Twitter account, which I had registered years ago without ever having tweeted before, suddenly got filled up with WordPress people.

Diving Deeper

Carole, Alain, and dogsOnly a few days after being back in Germany I started to organize trips to other WordCamps, and in September of 2016 Alain and I traveled together with our three dogs to WordCamp Frankfurt (Germany) – both of us as volunteers, and Alain as a speaker too.

Volunteering felt excellent and right, and we got in touch with the German WordPress Community for the first time. Alain’s talk was a success, and the German community adopted our entire family immediately; we loved seeing our dogs getting spoiled with hugs and treats.

In October of 2016 we joined WordCamp Netherlands in Utrecht where we once again met interesting and friendly people. Another premiere for me: “How WordPress Saved My Life” by Sally Mayor was the first talk I ever chose to see at a WordCamp. As you can imagine by reading the title, this was totally inspiring to me.

Just as with the previous WordCamps, Alain and I hardly spent any time on our own: hospitable organizers, volunteers, speakers, and attendees surrounded us and insisted on showing us the best spots and restaurants in town.

Two weeks later, we visited WordCamp Cologne (Germany) where we looked forward to seeing some of the lovely people we met two months before at WordCamp Frankfurt. I helped out at the registration desk, as I did in Frankfurt – definitely one of the best opportunities to get in touch with the community.

At that point, I also took part in my first “Contributor Day”. I participated in the Polyglots team as well as in the Community team, as these don’t require technical knowledge.

At the end of the day, I had localized one free theme into German (which was committed the same day) and joined the discussions for organizing a new type of WordCamp.

As I was more interested in contributing to the community part, I joined Slack and was again diligent in following up. I wanted to become an active part of this community and help create and maintain the welcoming atmosphere I have experienced myself. It worked out very well: I am now a member of the organizing team for a very special German WordCamp with a unique and new concept, to happen in 2018.

New Wapuu

Wabully with a real French BulldogAnother idea was born at WordCamp Cologne: designing a Wapuu with the characteristics of a french bulldog. Meanwhile, our dogs had become an integral part of the German community, who considers our frenchies as the unofficial mascots. Said and done – by channeling designer skills that I did not even know about, I created the “Wabully”. Jasper, our nine-year-old male frenchie was the template.

Taking Control of Life

Before and after a health changeBesides all the positive and inspiring input for my brain, I took good care of my physical health too. I continued losing weight due to healthy and fresh nutrition, and my fitness level increased because I was doing sports again. My lipedema therapy – including two surgeries – was very successful and so my physical and mental health got better and better. In 18 months I managed to lose almost seventy pounds. I was actively taking control of my life again.

In November of 2016 Alain and I joined our first WordPress Meetup in Cologne. Dominik Schilling was sharing his experience during his WordPress 4.6 release lead. I noticed that all this “WordPress-stuff” was not so strange to me anymore; I managed to follow most of Dominik’s testimonies – and it was interesting to me through the entire talk.

I realized that WordPress was not a mystery to me anymore and that discussions at home must have changed a lot in the past months.

Now I knew the people Alain was talking about, I understood most of the projects and concepts he was referring to, and I was not bored anymore when he was talking about his current development issues.

I encouraged Alain to book a trip to Philadelphia in December of 2016 to attend WordCamp US – an amazing, precious and fruitful experience for him. Unfortunately, I could not join him because of surgery. I admit that I was a bit jealous at that point, but I (rightfully) had a hunch that this trip could be important for my husband and his professional future.

By coincidence, the only talk I saw online at WordCamp US was Topher DeRosia’s presentation of “HeroPress – The People of WordPress” which was totally inspiring to me. At that point, I would never have imagined that a few weeks later he’d find me and ask me to write an essay for HeroPress…

Using My Powers For Good

Earlier that year in spring, I had created a Facebook group for lipedema affected women in Luxembourg together with a friend. Lipedema is largely unknown in Luxembourg and often misdiagnosed as simple obesity. There is almost no help for affected women in my country of birth. I was indeed very lucky having moved to Germany, where the specialists in lipedema diagnosis and treatment are located; otherwise, I would probably not have been diagnosed and treated correctly up until now.

Inspired by my personal success and the growth of our Facebook group I decided, in January of 2017, to fight for a change in Luxembourg together with other lipedema patients.

We have been very active in educational work and we built a significant presence in Luxembourgish media in the past few weeks. The feedback was enormous and we founded a nonprofit association. I knew it would be very useful to create a website to reach more affected women, doctors, and other interested people.

I accepted the challenge and decided to set up a WordPress site. Alain built a theme according to my ideas and I successfully completed my very first plugin installations – most importantly for me a page builder called Beaver Builder. I had never imagined how easy, fun and fulfilling building of a website could be! With almost no skills and within a period of seven days only I managed to create lots of valuable content with a nice structure. I admit that living under the same roof with a devoted and passionate developer made some things easier for me.

But besides that, I began to understand what makes WordPress so special: everybody who has something to share is given the possibility to do so by WordPress.

If I managed to do that, why wouldn’t you? There are plenty of possibilities to help you build your website, blog or business – use them! And many fantastic WordPress people offer their support, contribute every single day to improve the software and to make it accessible for everybody out there. And some specialists offer great courses for absolute beginners like I am, to help them improving their skills.

We have reached many lipedema patients through my website “Lipödem Lëtzebuerg”, who thank us every day for our commitment as so-called lipedema fighters. I am so happy that lipedema is now a topic of discussion in Luxembourg, which is not only a consequence of our devotion but also due to WordPress allowing me to build a website in a very short amount of time, and with almost no skills. Meanwhile, in collaboration with the National Patients Representation, we have formulated concrete demands concerning diagnosis and therapy to the Luxembourgish Government.

I am overwhelmed and happy to see how much attention and gratefulness my work and website have earned. It fulfills me in a way that I had not experienced in the past 12 years during my well-paid job.

Making a Living

It turned out that my enthusiasm and content writing skills were noticed by the CEO of a startup in Luxembourg. I got a remote job offer for writing and managing content on their WordPress website and for being a part of the social media team. We are currently testing a possible cooperation, and I have already been writing some of the content for their website.

Furthermore I got contacted to work on the elaboration and social media spreading processes of an important lipedema study in Germany as well.

I was not even actively searching for a job and the offers come rolling in nevertheless – what an amazing new experience!

At the same time, I was busy in the last months for the WordPress community:

As member of an organizing team, I was in charge of finding the perfect location for a WordCamp in 2018. Together with some of my colleagues I have visited some excellent sites in Germany, and I am leading the negotiations.

Alain and I joined the first German contributor night in Cologne, which was both productive and fun. I proudly presented my very first results of crocheting, which I started in-between my surgeries as a pastime while I needed to stay in bed:

Small yellow crocheted wapuu Crocheted Wabully

In February of 2017 Alain and I have been asked by Birgit Olzem to be part of the organizing team of the WordPress Meetup Eifel, which we both were delighted to accept. The first Meetup organized by the new team of three will happen at the end of April.

In March of 2017 we flew to WordCamp London. We were both volunteering and I feel honored that I was part of an outstanding team which made every possible effort to organize a welcoming and amazing event for every single attendee. In terms of inclusivity and accessibility, WordCamp London set high standards: there has been a lactation room, a crèche, a multi-faith room, a quiet room, live transcription of the talks, life essential boxes in women’s and men’s restrooms. Almost every area was accessible to wheelchairs – with volunteers designated to help in the few spots that weren’t. We had a lovely and inspiring time there and I have yet to follow up with everyone. It makes me feel like my family grows with every WordCamp.

Last but not least I want to share that I submitted a lightning talk proposal to WordCamp Europe 2017 in Paris. It took all of my courage, but I was feeling so honored and inspired by Topher’s request to write an essay for HeroPress that I realized there might be a story which deserves to be told. I was so proud to have applied as a speaker that it wouldn’t even matter in the end whether my talk is accepted or not.

Alain has applied as speaker as well, and we will both help as volunteers again. I can’t wait to be part of this big event. I look forward to seeing friends and meeting new people. It will be my one-year anniversary of being part of the WordPress community – a year with lots of positive changes and inspiration.

In the end, my talk proposal for WordCamp Europe has not been selected. Of course, I felt a bit sad about this. Even if I was aware that there had been over 300 applications for more or less 40 spots, I had some kind of feeling of having “failed” on my first try… But after having slept on it, I soon got over my deception and I was pleased for Alain for having reached a milestone: his talk proposal got accepted.

And most importantly, I decided not to let this discourage me from applying as a speaker again. There are other WordCamps and all things happen for a good reason: I was pondering for weeks if I should attend WordCamp Berlin or not. I love the community, I love the city but Alain already had other plans. Said and done – I booked a hotel, bought my ticket, applied as a volunteer and submitted my talk proposal, slightly modified and in German. This time my lightning talk got accepted and I will be a speaker for the very first time at WordCamp Berlin on the 13th of May – I am more than excited about it. Alain’s plans were changing so that he’s now able to join me with our dogs on my trip to Berlin.

I hope that I can give something back to the WordPress community with what I’m doing. I am a true WordPress community lover by now. I would like to encourage the people out there to use WordPress – especially when they think they don’t have enough skills to build a website. There is no such a thing as “I can’t do this.” – Yes, you can! As long as you have something to share with the world, or a business idea or any other motivation that drives you – just spread it. WordPress gives you the opportunity to be whoever you want to be and to give yourself a voice.

WordPress Is For You, No Matter Who You Are

Furthermore I would love to see every WordPress user, blogger, developer, programmer, designer – and even more so their respective partners – joining the nearest WordCamp (or Meetup) and meeting the amazing WordPress community! Especially when you haven’t done this so far. You’ll be able to find inspiration and friends, develop unknown personal skills, gain new perspectives on your job or life and, in any case, learn a lot, just like I did. And last but not least – it can even bring your relationship to a whole new level.

I still have no idea where my personal journey will lead me in the end but I have this growing feeling that WordPress could be an integral part of my life. Fortunately, it is already a part of me.

The post The Only Journey Is The One Within appeared first on HeroPress.

by Carole Olinger at April 19, 2017 05:00 AM

April 18, 2017

WPTavern: Open Collective is a New, Transparent Way to Fund Open Source Projects

Open Collective is a new service that aims to make it easy for individuals, groups, and organizations to raise money in a transparent way. Although many projects have communities ready to offer financial support, the paperwork, taxes, and accounting involved in collecting money under the proper legal entity can be a nearly insurmountable hurdle.

“So far, the Internet has been very good at helping people do things together,” Open Collective co-founder Xavier Damman said. “But once it involves money, there is no good solution. Creating a new legal entity is too much overhead, too early. What if we could create a virtual entity that can collect money as easily as creating a Facebook Group?”

Open Collective was created to eliminate the need for setting up a legal entity in order to raise funds. Groups can set up a collective and begin managing their funds immediately. The two key differentiators of the platform are the ability to raise money recurrently and the built-in transparency. Members of the collective must approve or reject an expense before the money can be used. Unpaid expenses and available funds can be viewed by the public.

Open Collective currently has 228 active collectives and 196 of them are open source projects. Many open source maintainers are finding success raising funds on the platform. Webpack, a popular utility for bundling JavaScript files, is one of the most prominent successes, having funded its first full-time developer through the platform. The project’s collective now has an annual budget of $83,659.

Preact, a fast alternative to React, has a collective on the platform to raise funds after maintainer Jason Miller started to experience burnout last year. In a recent interview with Open Collective, Miller said he enjoyed his day job and didn’t want to leave it to set up “Preact Inc.” One of the reasons he chose the platform was to leave room for future key maintainers to be able to access the community’s resources, instead of cannibalizing them all in his own personal fundraising efforts.

“If you’re fundraising for a community, there’s a clear implication that it’s for the betterment of the project as a whole,” Miller said. “By putting the project at center stage, as opposed to a person, there’s no need to explain that. In our case, I think it’s why people were so willing to contribute.”

The structure that Open Collective provides puts the focus on the community, instead of solely focusing on funding the talents and efforts of the most prominent maintainer. It also gives projects the opportunity to distribute funds to different types of contributors.

“My advice would be to put channels in place for all the different kinds of support an open source project needs, and offer people clear options: write features, raise issues, make a pull request, do code reviews, give money,” Miller said. “Don’t try to hide the fact that the project needs funding, and don’t skirt around that fact that it’s specifically about money, or it will come off as disingenuous. If there’s something users want from the project that money can enable, give them an avenue to make it happen.”

Open Collective has helped raise more than $200,000 for open source projects on the platform to date. Projects like MochaJS, Babel, GulpJS, Vapor, Qubes OS, and Hoodie have raised thousands of dollars for ongoing maintenance and support. Many of these projects are critical to the open source ecosystem and strapped for resources.

Although the platform is currently dominated by open source software projects, Open Collective was built to be capable of funding many different types of group efforts. Co-founder Xavier Damman described the platform’s goals in an interview with Dataconomy:

Our goal as Open Collective is to create this new light type of association for our generation who really love doing those side projects, creating those meetup groups, taking the initiative to create a conference located in your city, do open source projects together, create movements like occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, all of that. There’s a whole bunch of things that our generation is doing but we don’t have any platform to enable those movements and these communities to collect money. So it’s all about finding a new way, fund those communities that can have a larger impact.

Open Collective’s co-founders share a strong commitment to open source and the majority of the platform’s code is MIT-licensed and available on GitHub.

“I’m a big fan of open source myself and we open source everything,” Damman said. “Open Collective is an open source platform because we believe in open source. We believe it’s the future of work. There’s no reason for having two different engineers in two different parts of the world solving the same problem. And also open source is the right business decision. I’m an engineer, as well as a developer, and we tend to make much better code if we know that other people can look at it.”

Open Collective takes 10% of funds raised by a collective in addition to credit card fees, which are estimated at 3% + $0.30/transaction). The platform’s fee structure is slightly higher when compared to other crowd-funding and fundraising platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which charge a 5% fee for successfully funded projects and 3-5% for credit card processing. However, these platforms are more goal-based and not necessarily designed for generating recurring funding. Open Collective’s fees include use of the platform for managing bookkeeping, taxes, and reimbursing expenses.

Open Collective for organizations is currently in private beta. It allows local chapters and other organizations to raise money and manage funds without having to open a separate bank account. Women Who Code is an organization that is using the platform this way and has an annual budget of $171,978 based on current recurring donations.

Money issues can be the source of bitter disputes in communities, especially when maintainers are short on time and neglect to document how donated funds are being used. Open Collective’s approach to financial transparency is sorely missing in most fundraising platforms, which don’t require their users to account for how the money has been spent after it is donated. Its built-in transparency and accountability mirrors the values of many open source projects and gives communities a healthy and convenient way to monitor the distribution of funds.

by Sarah Gooding at April 18, 2017 08:55 PM under open-source

WPTavern: Automattic to Close San Francisco Office

Automattic’s San Francisco, CA office is located at 140 Hawthorne. Since 2013, it has served as a coworking space, hosted the WordCamp San Francisco 2014 after party, and has been used as a venue for local meetups.

On episode 101 of the Stack Overflow podcast, Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, announced that the company will be closing its San Francisco office.

At the 45:50 mark, Joel Spolsky, co-host of the show, asks Mullenweg if Automattic is one of the largest fully distributed companies in the world.

“Yeah, in fact, we’re looking at shutting down our San Francisco office,” Mullenweg said. “We got an office there about six or seven years ago, pretty good lease, but nobody goes in it. Five people go in it and it’s 15,000 square feet. There are as many gaming tables as there are people.”

Automattic has listed the property through Colliers International, a global real estate company that has more than 500 offices across 67 countries.

photo credit: Peter Slutsky

The building used to be a Fairtex location. Fairtex is a manufacturer of combat equipment and clothing for Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. The building was completely renovated in 2013 and designed by Baran Studio Architecture.

The design was based on accommodating 15 to 20 people on a daily basis with options to expand to accommodate a few hundred people.

WCSF 2014 Contributor Day

One of my favorite parts of the Automattic office is the T-Shirt museum where shirt designs from WordCamps across the world are displayed. Mullenweg says the items in the museum will be saved somewhere.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Automattic’s US office, you can tour the inside of it without leaving your home.

In 2016, San Francisco was named the most expensive city to conduct business according to a report by the CBRE. If Automattic’s office isn’t being used by 20 or 30 people a day, as was originally intended, it makes sense to invest that money elsewhere.

The closing of the San Francisco office leaves Automattic with two physical offices in the world: One in Cape Town, South Africa where a number of WooCommerce employees live and Automattic East in Westbrook, Maine.

by Jeff Chandler at April 18, 2017 07:44 PM under san francisco

April 17, 2017

WPTavern: Automattic to Host a Free, Remote Conference on Design and Exclusion on April 21

Automattic is hosting a free, remote conference called Design and Exclusion on April 21. The event will bring together design and technology experts who will discuss solutions for the ways that digital products and services exclude people.

Lead organizer Ashleigh Axios, Design Exponent at Automattic, said inspiration for the event came from the exclusion that is everywhere in the industry. Automattic is partnering with Mash-Up Americans and MIT Center for Civic Media to bring awareness to the issue.

“Exclusion is all around us, but we don’t often take the time to understand how it’s come to be this way, our place in its existence, and our place in combating it,” Axios said. “Together, we’re using research, design, and conversational narrative to open source the prompt to understand the issue of exclusion for further community involvement and refinement.”

The schedule for the event includes a message on “Design and Inclusion” from Automattic’s John Maeda and a session on “Opportunities Missed from Excluded Voices” from Joan Shigekawa, former Senior Deputy Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) during the Obama Administration. The conference also includes four panels with experts from Autodesk, Etsy, Airbnb, and other companies.

“Design and Exclusion” is a pointed conference name that puts the spotlight on the problem participants are trying to address. Axios said this name, as opposed to something like “Design and Inclusion,” was a deliberate decision. She said that she and John Maeda felt the need to change the language to reflect a new vantage point on the issue in order to garner new insights.

“It should now be a well-known fact that technology companies are suffering from a lack of diversity or lack of inclusion in their teams and companies,” Axios said. “This is well-reported and the pressure is building to take on this issue from early-childhood education to educating company human resource offices and hiring managers from questioning social and gender norms as relates to professional roles to crediting those who have been doing the work and not having their contributions and presence well acknowledged. This important work has dominated the ‘inclusion’ dialogue within technology-enabled spaces for good reason.

“However, equally important and much less discussed, are all of the ways in which products and services can be, and often are, designed and built to exclude individuals and people groups, even if unintentionally. We shouldn’t have to wait until a company crosses the line, creating a public relations nightmare, in order to evaluate the failures in creating inclusive products.”

More than 1,000 people have already signed up for a reminder about when the event takes place. Axios said that even if the event is successful, organizers are not planning to make it an in-person event in the future. The online-only event was designed to offer more access to the conversation than traditional in-person conferences generally provide.

“In-person conferences tend to exclude those without financial means to travel or with geographic hurdles to attendance, those with time-prohibiting personal or professional commitments, those who have difficulty navigating crowds or in-person social interactions, and those who prefer to consume information at their own pace and in their choice of format,” Axios said. “Given the topic, it’s our aim that Design and Exclusion be as inclusive as it can while limiting its environmental impact.”

Axios said one of the goals of the conference is to understand the industry’s failures in excluding people as a first step towards creating more inclusive products.

“Design and Exclusion aims to do that as an honest and open dialogue with many representatives from across tech,” Axios said. “Success will be active participation in this event followed by the broader conversation around this topic from contributors beyond those involved in the initial discussion. To broadly measure success, we’ll look at views on the content, engagement online using #DesignX, and will track any increase in conversation by use of keywords associated with this topic.”

Design and Exclusion kicks off at 9am PT / 12pm ET / 4pm UTC / 5pm GMT on April 21 and the schedule has been published to the event’s website. Participants who want to join the discussion on making the web more inclusive are invited to use the #DesignX hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks.

by Sarah Gooding at April 17, 2017 10:04 PM under design

WPTavern: Inuagural CabinPress Takes Place November 3-5, at Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, FL

If spending time in the woods in Oklahoma to disconnect from technology is not your thing, perhaps staying at a cabin in Florida is. CabinPress, organized by David Laietta, takes place November 3-5, at Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, FL.

The location is about an hour’s drive from Orlando, FL and is 4,500 acres large with lakes, hills, and scenic areas.

Similar to CampPress, CabinPress’ goal is to disconnect people from technology to allow them to focus on building and strengthening personal relationships.

“I enjoy camping and spending some time disconnected from technology, spending time with others,” Laietta said. “I get the most out of a conference when I have the opportunity to have deeper discussions with others than general ‘we’re crushing it, work is fine’ chats.

“This is much more comfortable than camping though, so the focus can be on having fun and making connections, while still having a real bed and hot showers.”

Accommodations include fully furnished cabins with beds, air conditioning, kitchens, and bathrooms. Activities within the park include hiking, kayaking, board games, canoeing, and more. Laietta suggests packing for the event as if you’re staying at a hotel.

Lake Louisa Cabin Interior

Early bird tickets are available until April 30th when prices will increase from $250 to $300. At the time of writing, there were 15 tickets remaining. Each ticket provides the following:

  • Accommodations for Friday and Saturday night
  • Meals and snacks from Friday dinner to Sunday lunch
  • Canoe and Kayak rentals
  • Coworking space with high-speed internet the week following the event in downtown Orlando, FL
  • Swag!

Sponsorship opportunities are available and the funds will be used to offset the cost of the event. Although CabinPress and CampPress were officially announced around the same time period, Laietta has been planning this event for some time.

“We were discussing it after WordCamp Orlando was postponed due to a hurricane last year,” he said.

“We happened to find good timing availability for one of the nice state parks. Many of them you have to book far in advance to get cabins.”

Those interested in attending are encouraged to review the event’s Code of Conduct. To learn more about Lake Louisa State Park and what it offers, visit the park’s official site.

by Jeff Chandler at April 17, 2017 09:21 PM under florida

HeroPress: HeroPress Geography: Central and South America

Google map of Central and South America

If you post the Monday after a holiday weekend, is it still part of the weekend? Of course it is! This week’s Geography collection is from Central and South America, and I’m stretching a bit and including one from the Caribbean. I hope you enjoy them and feel free to leave comments!

A Minority Amongst Minorities

Custom is not Synonymous with Expensive

On the other side

WordPress, a Mere Coincidence

A Journey of Resilience

The post HeroPress Geography: Central and South America appeared first on HeroPress.

April 17, 2017 08:39 PM under Saint Lucia

April 14, 2017

WPTavern: Yoast Office Hosts “Bring Your Parents to Work Day”

If you’ve ever heard your parents say something like,”My son works for the internet,” or “My daughter owns some kind of computer company,” then you know the struggle. Many parents have a difficult time understanding the professions of their grown children, especially when they are in the tech industry. This can also be compounded by the novelty of remote work, which sometimes prompts questions like, “Just what is it that you do all day?” or “When are you going to get a real job?”

The team at Yoast decided to be proactive about the problem of families not understanding their work by hosting an event called “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” Yoast employs a team of nearly 50 people, with 40 employees working in a central office located in Wijchen, Netherlands, and 10 working remotely. The family event brought 42 parents to the office.

“It’s just awesome to have everyone’s ‘home’ team understand what we do and relate to it,” CEO Joost de Valk said.

Yoast Community Manager Taco Verdonschot brought his father to work today. His photo below shows all of the parents attending a presentation from Joost and Marieke de Valk about WordPress, open source, and Yoast’s products.

“Most parents didn’t know too much about WordPress and/or open source,” Verdonschot said. “They told the parents about our mission to make the web a better place for everyone and to make SEO available for everyone.”

After the presentation Verdonschot said employees showed their parents around the office and Joost took them in small groups across the street to a second office the company will be opening soon.

“We ended the Bring Your Parents to Work Day with drinks and snacks (home-made by my colleague Chris),” Verdonschot said. “Personally, I really liked meeting my colleagues’ parents. Some of them just look so much like their mom/dad! I really think that the presentation gave our parents a better understanding of what we do at Yoast, and how much we’re loving what we do.”

The “Bring Your Parents to Work” event has been gaining popularity in the past two years. Many large companies participated in 2016, including LinkedIn, Dogfish Head Brewery, HubSpot, ASOS, and British Airways. Verdonschot hasn’t confirmed with the directors yet, but based on the success of today’s event, he expects Yoast will make this an annual event.

“For me personally, I really like that my parents have visited the office and met my colleagues, because the world I work in now feels less strange for them,” Verdonschot said.

by Sarah Gooding at April 14, 2017 09:13 PM under yoast

WPTavern: Free React Fundamentals Course Updated for React v15.5

If you’re looking for ways to expand your ReactJS knowledge, the free React Fundamentals course from ReactTraining.com has been updated for the latest React v15.5 release. The 48-lesson course takes approximately 287 minutes to complete. It was designed for a wide range of professionals, including backend engineers new to JavaScript, Bootcamp graduates and front-end developers who want to expand their skill sets, and JavaScript developers coming from other frameworks.

In the React Fundamentals course students will get an introduction to the React ecosystem and will learn how to set up a React component with NPM, Babel, and Webpack. The course covers topics like dataflow with Props, building UIs with Pure Functions, nesting React components, Stateless Functional Components, React Router V4, and more. Complete beginners may struggle, so the course author recommends students enter with a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. More than 57,000 students have taken React Fundamentals.

Last year’s State of JavaScript survey results showed React as the clear winner among front-end frameworks in terms of developer interest and satisfaction. Automattic is banking on the framework’s success and has used it to build Calypso and Jetpack’s admin interface. Matt Mullenweg said he believes “the future of a great wp-admin experience is JavaScript – probably React, talking to APIs, super fast, and maybe even working offline.”

React may end up being an important part of WordPress’ codebase in the future. If you want to explore the framework without making a major investment, a free online course is a good way to do that. In addition to React Training’s fundamentals course, Codeacademy has two free courses for learning React.js and Wes Bos has a free course to help students get started with React.js, Redux, and React Router.

by Sarah Gooding at April 14, 2017 03:48 PM under react

April 13, 2017

WPTavern: Customizer Team Proposes Image Widget for WordPress 4.8

WordPress contributors to the customizer have published a merge proposal for a new JavaScript and REST API-powered core image widget. The new widget interfaces with the WordPress media library to provide a simpler, more intuitive experience for adding images. No new widgets have been added to core since the Custom Menu widget was included in 3.0 nearly seven years ago.

Image widget demo optimized

The current method of inserting images into widgets is a multi-step process that many plugins have attempted to simplify. Hundreds of thousands of WordPress users have installed a plugin with this feature. The Image Widget plugin, created by Modern Tribe, is one of the most popular with more than 500,000 active installs.

Widget architecture in WordPress currently relies on PHP and AJAX, but the new image widget will follow the recent trend towards JavaScript interfaces.

“In the time since WP_Widget was introduced in 2.8, WordPress has made dramatic shifts toward developing interfaces in JavaScript, including with the Customizer in 3.4 and the Media Library in 3.5, and more recently with the focus on the REST API,” contributors said in the proposal. “Given that the media widgets are naturally interfacing with the media library JS, it is necessary that the media widgets make use of JavaScript to construct their UI instead of relying on PHP.”

Customizer component co-maintainer Weston Ruter noted in the comments that the new proposed image widget also allows for external images to be embedded by URL. This is a feature that Jetpack offers in its image widget. The new core widget will support both use cases that WordPress users are already familiar with from popular plugins.

The image widget is the first of several planned JS-powered media widgets, including video, audio, galleries, and slideshows. Ruter said progress on the video widget is coming along well and he anticipates it will likely land next. Contributors have begun work on the audio widget, but Ruter said galleries and slideshows are a higher priority.

Matt Mullenweg, who is leading core development this year, confirmed in his quarterly update today that the image widget will be considered for 4.8.

“The plan is for the larger block-driven customization work to kick off in June,” Mullenweg said. “Prior to that, we’re focusing on widgets and other low-hanging fruit. Lack of developers slowed us down the last few months, now doing better but could still use more help there. Media widgets + WYSIWYG on text widget seem simple but will have a big user impact.”

Contributors on the Customizer team are asking for developers and users to test the new image widget. The latest version of the plugin is available on GitHub. The Core Media Widgets plugin is also available on WordPress.org.

by Sarah Gooding at April 13, 2017 09:32 PM under wordpress 4.8

WPTavern: Hacked Home Routers are Launching Brute Force Attacks on WordPress Sites

photo credit: Eduardo Mueses The Oracle(license)

Security researchers at Wordfence are reporting that thousands of hacked home routers are attacking WordPress sites. Wordfence firewall and malware scanner products are in use on more than 2 million WordPress sites and the company estimates that 6.7% of all attacks on these sites are coming from hacked home routers.

“In the past month alone we have seen over 57,000 unique home routers being used to attack WordPress sites,” Wordfence CEO Mark Maunder said. “Those home networks are now being explored by hackers who have full access to them via the hacked home router. They can access workstations, mobile devices, wifi cameras, wifi climate control and any other devices that use the home WiFi network.”

Maunder said his team has mostly seen brute force attacks targeting both wp-login.php (the traditional login endpoint for WordPress) and also XMLRPC login. They have also seen a small percentage of complex attacks. Wordfence has detected a total of 67 million individual attacks from the routers the company identified in March.

While Wordfence researchers were creating their monthly attack report, they noticed that Algeria had jumped in rankings from position 60 to 24 in thier “Top Attacking Countries” list. Their review of attack data in Algeria revealed a ‘long tail’ of more than 10,000 attacking IPs originating from an Algerian state owned ISP.

A vulnerability known as “misfortune cookie” is being used in these attacks. It hijacks a service that ISP’s use to remotely manage home routers by listening on port number 7547. ISP’s should close general internet access to this port, but many have not.

“It appears that attackers have exploited home routers on Algeria’s state owned telecommunications network and are using the exploited routers to attack WordPress websites globally,” Maunder said.

Wordfence researchers scanned the devices to find out what services they are running and found that they are Zyxel routers usually used in a home internet setting. They found that many of them have a severe and well-known vulnerability in RomPager, the embedded web server from AllegroSoft.

“We then dug deeper and discovered that many ISPs around the world have this same issue and those routers are attacking WordPress sites via brute force attacks,” Maunder said.

I spoke with Tony Perez, CEO of Sucuri to see if his team has detected anything similar. Sucuri also tracks WordPress brute force attempts, but Perez said current numbers are not remarkable when compared historically to mid-2016.

“I think the reason Sucuri and other companies are not seeing this is because it is a weak ranking signal for malicious behavior,” Maunder said. “As we point out in the report, each of these IPs is only doing between 50 and 1000 attacks per month on sites. They also only attack for a few hours each. These combined are a very weak ranking signal for malicious behavior. That low frequency also makes the attacks more effective because they are less likely to be blocked.”

This particular security issue is unusual in that the vulnerability is with the routers, not with WordPress itself. The attackers bulk hack thousands of devices, upload a WordPress attack script and a list of targets, and then they have thousands of routers under their control to attack WordPress sites.

This type of botnet isn’t terribly uncommon, as security researchers from from ESET recently uncovered a new malware called Sathurbot that uses torrent files as a method of distributing coordinated brute-force attacks on WordPress sites. The vulnerability in this instance is not in the software but rather in weak WordPress administrator accounts.

Protecting against brute force attacks starts with a strong administrator password. There are also many popular plugins, such as Shield Security, the Jetpack Protect module, iThemes Security, and Wordfence, which offer protection from brute force attacks.

If you want to make sure your router is not vulnerable to being recruited for these attacks, Wordfence has created a tool that makes it easy to check. It detects whether your home router has port 7547 open or if it’s running a vulnerable version of RomPager. If you find that your router is vulnerable or port 7547 is open, Wordfence has published instructions for how to secure your device.

by Sarah Gooding at April 13, 2017 02:46 AM under security

April 12, 2017

Matt: New Top 50 Restaurants

There’s a new “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list out! I follow the list and try to check out restaurants on it when I’m in the area, and as of last month had made it to 28 out of 50 of last year’s list. It’s a goal but in a rolling, gentle fashion: as the list changes every year I’ll probably never make it to 100%, but I enjoy exploring the highlighted folks and I’ve never had a bad meal at one. I was able to make it to Eleven Madison last month and predicted they might take the top spot, which they did in a well-deserved win. As with any award, there are lots of detractors, but Scott Vogel at Houstonia has a great essay on Why the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List Matters, which encapsulates nicely what the list represents to me.

by Matt at April 12, 2017 05:44 PM under Asides

HeroPress: A Bottomless World of Possibilities

Pull Quote: I am quite lucky to wake up every morning and work, all on my own, in a country where 54% of the population are unemployed and over 70% are youth.

I started playing with websites back in 2003. I was in secondary school and Internet was relatively new to Somalia. It arrived in 1998-99 but only very few people had internet in their homes. Luckily there were internet cafes and I was introduced to this guy who owned an internet cafe. He had a large collection of Somali music and wanted to upload to somewhere so he could share with other people. I put together a GeoCities website using Microsoft FrontPage.

The site I built was literally a blank canvas with marquee at the top and links to the mp3 files.

The rest of the page was filled with animated gifs of waving flag, rotating globe and glittering stars.

I kept fiddling with FrontPage’s WYSIWYG tab. Every time I add new element to the visual tab I would immediately switch to the HTML tab and see how the generated code would look like. I have managed to teach myself some HTML this way, but I was still very uncomfortable with coding.

Buckling Down

After a while, I moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and suddenly I had plenty of time so I decided to buy a web design book. It was basically an HTML tutorial and it helped me code table-based layouts without using a visual builder. This led me to discover CSS, PHP and, among other things, WordPress.

I would install and test almost every PHP-based CMS out there: Mambo, Joomla, Drupal and few others but I settled with WordPress.

WordPress was always user friendly and anyone with half-decent knowledge in HTML and CSS could open Kubrick (default theme until 2010) files in text editor and whip out something unique.

Leveling Up

It was around this time that I started to take freelance projects. My first WordPress project helped me buy a decent laptop, and suddenly other projects started to come. Most of my clients were people in Europe and United States.

Getting paid was initially difficult. Most of international payment systems didn’t work in Somalia until very recently.

PayPal’s strict policy meant payment was one-way street: you can make payments but can’t receive or withdraw anything.

I managed to team up with someone in another country and we opened a shared account where we could receive the payments. My business partner would then transfer my slice to my local bank account. Things changed recently and although PayPal is still not an option, freelancers can get paid via international bank transfer or Payoneer.

My experience with open source in general and WordPress in particular had positive impact in my life. I am quite lucky to wake up every morning and work, all on my own, in a country where 54% of the population are unemployed and over 70% are youth. This has prompted me to seek ways help other people to get into open source, creating hobbies and jobs for many young people who have a lot of time in their hands to learn, contribute and work with open source software.

Branching Out

Although the Internet keeps crushing physical borders and bureaucracy policies it doesn’t mean opportunities will magically come knocking on people’s doors. However, the advantage of investing in skills that allow the individual to go remote and tap a global market of design, development, copywriting or blogging, is that the individual is not dependent on the demand of the local market. Another advantage is that it helps the person connect to thousands of like-minded people from worldwide, whom you learn from and contribute to. It’s a bottomless world of possibilities.

I have recently talked to few WordPress developers from different parts of Somalia and we were trying to figure out how we can organize a WordPress related event, preferably WordCamp Somalia. We didn’t set out time yet but it’s in our plans. Hopefully in 2018.

The post A Bottomless World of Possibilities appeared first on HeroPress.

by Jamaal Jaamac at April 12, 2017 12:00 PM

April 11, 2017

WPTavern: Advanced WordPress Facebook Group Moves to Curb Low Quality Content with Admin-Approved Posts

The Advanced WordPress Facebook group (AWP) is making a radical change. After three years of allowing members to post freely, the group’s administrators voted to restrict posting to admin-approved content only.

The popular WordPress watering hole has amassed more than 28,000 members and plays host to many lively conversations. Over the years some have suggested the group switch to using a WordPress-powered site or forum, but Facebook’s infrastructure has proven to be a vital part of the community’s success. Most members are already tied into Facebook’s notification system for their personal accounts and posts receive much more exposure than if they were on a separate website.

In more recent years, the group has struggled with a constant stream of low quality content, prompting admins to re-examine the group’s approach to posting.

“Our current mode of moderation is reactive,” AWP admin Matt Cromwell said. “Every time a low-quality post gets posted to the group it adds to the noise, and sometimes it might be hours and hours or even a day until an admin removes it — which means thousands of people have experienced the group with more ‘noise’ than it should have. Our only tools in the current setup of the group is for that noise to be added automatically, and the admins having to clean it up after the fact.”

Cromwell said the group reached “a crisis moment” and several admins with experience in other large groups said content quality is much higher with admin-approved posts. The majority of the group’s 28 admins voted over the weekend to make the switch to admin-approved content only. Cromwell said the vote breakdown included one abstention and six hesitant no votes.

“Some might think that is a lot more work for admins, but the truth is that we’ll actually be able to focus less on moderating in a reactive way, moderating profiles and negativity, and instead admin in a proactive way, moderating content,” Cromwell said.

AJ Zane is one of the six admins who voted against the new rule. He said he sees AWP as an extension of the physical San Diego AWP group where he and other members enjoy open-table discussions.

“I’m voting ‘no’ because I think this group is about self moderation, open discussion, and letting the posts with good content bubble to the top,” Zane said. “If the physical AWP meetup was not a round table group of people sharing wins/bugs/discoveries/questions, but had curated presenters, I know I would not have been as excited to attend the sessions. You want curated content? Go to Torque, listen to WP Weekly. You want to share that you just realized a method you’ve been using for years has a parameter you never noticed, come to AWP.”

Zane said he realizes that it is idealistic to say that “good content bubbles to the top,” since AWP wouldn’t have this problem if all the top posts were high quality.

“Our group has grown to the size that we apparently need some guidance from the admins that care about a high caliber of content and a vibrant community, as opposed to the people trying to get quick fixes and actively malicious parties,” Zane said. He proposed that the group build a forum website where they could use Facebook’s authentication and set up curated and free-post rooms, but said he sees it as “a nice pipe dream,” since few people would have time to build it.

Members responded positively to the news that posting is changing, with a few exceptions who are worried about moderators having conflicts of interest. Others expressed concerns about not receiving timely posts and replies if someone is in need of assistance. Admins reminded members that the purpose of the group is not for receiving personalized support on projects.

Several members commented on the announcement, saying they were considering quitting the group because the negative posts and noise level had gotten so high. Many are hopeful that fewer posts will generate more engagement on the content.

“We also would like to starting hosting new kinds of content,” Cromwell said. “With admin-approved posts we can better facilitate an AMA, or a Facebook Live, or any other type of content.”

Cromwell said he expects there will be more work for admins in the first 4-8 weeks until members start to understand more intuitively what makes for a good post in the group. Members who are not sure if their content is appropriate can run it through the AWP Contribution Wizard.

by Sarah Gooding at April 11, 2017 09:58 PM under News

WPTavern: WordCamp for Publishers to be Held in Denver, August 17-19

Coffee Cup on Table — Image by © Michael Prince/CORBIS

The first ever WordCamp for Publishers will be held August 17-19 in Denver, Colorado. The niche WordCamp will be open to anyone who uses WordPress to manage a publication, no matter what size. Organizers submitted an application last November and received approval from WordCamp Central in February.

In previous planning stages, the event was going to be called “WordCamp for Journalists,” but WordCamp for Publishers is more inclusive of the different types of professionals who are involved in managing publications. Organizers are planning to have tracks with content for engineering, product, and editorial teams. Attendees will work together to collaborate on open source tools for publishers and best practices.

Steph Yiu and Adam Schweigert are the lead organizers of the event. Schweigert used to run engineering at the Institute of Nonprofit News and also led a working group assembled by MIT and the Knight Foundation on CMS-related projects. Yiu was a part of that working group and most of the other 12 organizers came out of it. Others were found through a call for volunteers.

“As a part of the working group we decided we wanted to pull together an event that was focused on WordPress, specifically helping improve the open source tools around publishing, and build a community around publishers that use WordPress,” Yiu said. “One thing that was very important to us was being able to reach smaller publishers, which is why, as part of the event, we are hoping to offer travel scholarships for folks who otherwise would not be able to attend.”

After discussing a few different event types, Yiu said the team eventually settled on setting it up as a WordCamp because of the community and structure that WordCamp Central provides. However, unlike most WordCamps, the event will offer a mix of presentations and hands-on workshops. Organizers will soon open a call for both speakers and workshop facilitators.

“It’s still early days for us since this is a first-time event,” Yiu said. “Our current goal is to have a mix of workshops aimed at people who contribute to the multiple areas of the publishing process (for example: developers, designers, product owners, and editorial staff) and multiple skill levels. We also hope to bring together people who maintain open source projects important to publishing to run workshops on both using and contributing with the goal of helping build up those projects for the long run.”

WordCamp for Publishers will be held at The Denver Post, a publication that runs on WordPress as a WordPress.com VIP customer.

“Mateo Leyba, who works at Digital First Media, was a part of the original working group and suggested they could sponsor with a venue donation,” Yiu said. “That was very welcome as venues are usually the most expensive part of any event! Also, it’s a cool spot with a beautiful view.”

The call for speakers and workshop leaders will open soon and will close in early May. Tickets for the event will be $40 and will go on sale in May. As it’s the first event of its kind, the organizers are keeping it small and are limiting it to 230 attendees. If you’re thinking about sponsoring or attending, sign up for email updates on the WordCamp for Publishers website.

by Sarah Gooding at April 11, 2017 03:12 AM under WordCamp for Publishers

April 10, 2017

WPTavern: WordPress Editor Experience Survey Shows 75% of Respondents Don’t Use Distraction-Free Writing Mode

The WordPress Editor Experience survey results have been published with data from 2,563 participants, a significantly larger sampling than the 50 who responded to the recent customizer survey. Both the editor and the customizer are included in Matt Mullenweg’s three main focus areas for core development in 2017. The purpose of the surveys is to find out how WordPress users are using or not using the current features.

More than half of the survey respondents (66%) identified themselves as developers (in addition to other roles). Since this category of users dominated the survey results, Mark Uraine decided to break it down further to display other categories developers selected.

Based on these results, it isn’t surprising that more than 85% of respondents use the markup text editor and 35% of those use it exclusively. Support for syntax highlighting is also a popular request.

The distraction-free writing mode received quite a bit of feedback on the survey. More than 75% of respondents said they do not use it.

The current implementation of the distraction-free writing mode was introduced in WordPress 4.1 at the end of 2014. The idea was to minimize distractions without having to go through a clunky transition to access the admin menu or meta boxes. Moving the cursor to the right or left of the editor brings them back into view, but many people find the admin interface sliding in and out of view to be distracting. Several who commented suggested that the feature could use some major improvements.

The survey also revealed that the majority of respondents (72%) install plugins that add features to the editor. These most commonly include shortcodes, Advanced TinyMCE, Tables, and Visual Composer. The results indicate that users often extend the editor to get more basic advanced layout capabilities for presenting their content.

The Editor Experience survey was a good first start, but it doesn’t accurately represent WordPress’ global user base. The results are heavily skewed towards developers’ needs and experiences. Developers are users, too, but there has to be a way to get these surveys into the hands of a more diverse sampling of users. Reopening the survey and circulating it beyond the WordPress developer community might help to paint a more accurate picture of users’ experiences with the editor.

A more diverse sampling would reveal whether or not the vast majority of users have no use for the current implementation of the distraction-free writing mode, as developer feedback seems to suggest. It could also provide more feedback on the visual editor features that 35% of respondents to this survey never use.

by Sarah Gooding at April 10, 2017 09:10 PM under editor

WPTavern: New Twitter Bot Automatically Tweets Links to Trac Tickets Tagged as Good-First-Bugs

In 2014, WordPress Trac received a facelift and one of the improvements was the “good-first-bug” tag. The goal of good-first-bug tickets is to get newcomers familiar with WordPress code, processes, and contributing patches.

If you’d like to be notified of new tickets created on trac tagged good-first-bug on Twitter, check out the @GoodFirstBugs account created by Ryan Welcher. In three days since its creation, the account has accumulated nearly 100 followers.

The bot uses predetermined phrases to describe tickets. However, the phrases don’t do much to explain what the ticket is about. For example, the ticket linked in the Tweet below has nothing to do with the Capital P Dangit filter. I’d like to see the first few words of the ticket’s title be used instead.

Many of the tickets linked have the has-patch keyword assigned as well. This means that a contributor has already submitted a patch and it needs to be reviewed and or tested before it can be committed to core. Scott Buscemi suggests that the bot should ignore these tickets, an idea that Welcher may implement in future iterations.

As I’ve highlighted in the past, the tickets tagged good-first-bug help remove some of the fear and anxiety that comes with navigating Trac to contribute to WordPress. Using Twitter to publish links to these tickets will give them more exposure and may lead to quicker adoption from new contributors.

by Jeff Chandler at April 10, 2017 04:30 PM under twitter

April 09, 2017

HeroPress: HeroPress Geography: Oceania

Google map of Oceana with pins in Australia, New Zealand, and The Philippines

This week’s HeroPress geography is from Oceania.  I’d love more people from that area, so if you know anyone who would be good for HeroPress, please encourage them to fill out the contributor form.

Actually, WordPress didn’t change my life.

It All Begins With a Thought

When Life Throws You a Curveball, WordPress is There

WordPress Set Me Free

Love your work

The post HeroPress Geography: Oceania appeared first on HeroPress.

April 09, 2017 02:47 AM under The Philippines

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April 24, 2017 09:15 AM
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